2nd Lieutenant Walter James Ablitt

Walter James Ablitt was born on August 16, 1891 in Cairo and was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh. Prior to the war he was employed as an Advocate.

He was commissioned into the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment on January 1, 1915 as a Second Lieutenant and his military records indicate that he first served overseas on the same date in Egypt.

He landed with the battalion in Gallipoli on May 9, 1915 but the war diary mentions him only once there reporting that 2/Lt. and acting adjutant W.J. Ablitt was admitted to hospital on September 12, 1915. He was diagnosed with Jaundice and Impetigo and invalided to the UK; 5 days later sailing from Mudros on HMT Aquitania. He arrived at Southampton on September 25th and was treated in the UK, given six weeks leave and assigned to the 3/9th Battalion. He was pronounced fit to return to General Service on February 1, 1916 and his name was passed to the Adjutant General to be utilized as an accompanying Officer with drafts going to Egypt.

He rejoined the battalion in Egypt on April 26, 1916 and is next mentioned in the battalion war diary on June 17, 1916, reporting that he was attached to the 126th Infantry Brigade HQ where he remained until January 20, 1917 when he was subsequently assigned to GHQ of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and appointed temporary Captain. In 1917 he was mentioned in despatches and was promoted to Lieutenant with precedence from July 1, 1917.  He was once again mentioned in despatches on June 14, 1918 when he was still a temporary Captain, now serving in the Intelligence Corps in France.

He was disembodied on March 15, 1919 and relinquished the temporary rank of Captain but did not resign his commission until September 30, 1921 and was granted the rank of Captain.

After his service he returned to Egypt where he served in the Egyptian Police force as an inspector in Cairo. He married Helen Joyce Hart in Egypt and on August 21, 1923 they had a daughter, Joan MacGregor Ablitt. On August 20, 1924 he was awarded the Order of the Nile (4th Class) by the King of Egypt and by this time was serving as the Assistant Commandant of Police at Alexandria. In 1926 he was awarded the Order of the Nile (3rd Class) and is noted as being Assistant Commandant, Cairo City Police. He later became the Commander of the Suez Canal police, special branch, at Port Said. In 1936 he was made a Commander of the Order of the Nile.

During World War II he was involved with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret British World War II organisation, created in July 1940, following the fall of France in June of that year.  Its purpose was to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe (and later, also in occupied Southeast Asia) against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements.

Captain Walter James Ablitt died May 24, 1955 at St. Mark’s Hospital, Maidenhead. He was 63 years old.